Bucs eye Division II tournament rematch vs. Quakers

Milford’s David Bowman keeps the ball and goes around the left end for a big gain late in the second quarter Saturday night. The play gave Milford a chance to kick a field goal seconds before halftime. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

MILFORD — Shaun Strickland did not want to commit to any plans for Thanksgiving.

So when his wife asked if he could go out of state for the holiday, the Milford High football coach said he needed to keep that week open.

He was hoping the Buccaneers would still be playing football. And thanks to a 24-23 victory over Woodbridge in the first round of the Division II state tournament, Strickland will be spending Thanksgiving with his football team.

“I told my wife, we can’t make plans because we want to make it to the next week,” Strickland said. “It’s awesome these kids will get this experience.”

Milford, the tournament’s fourth seed, will travel upstate to meet third-seeded Wilmington Friends at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be played at St. Mark’s.

It’s a rematch of Milford’s first round matchup a year ago.

That game was played in a driving rainstorm and Wilmington Friends edged out the Buccaneers 8-7.

“I hope the weather is better,” joked senior running back David Bowman. “But however the weather is, I don’t care. We’re going to go play hard in it.”

The loss to the Quakers last year ended a 9-1 season where the Buccaneers had aspirations for their first state title since 2008.

Bowman said Milford has been itching to get another shot at Wilmington Friends. This time, a berth in the state championship game will be on the line.

“Last year, no disrespect to them, they beat us by a point and now it’s time to go do the same to them,” Bowman said.

The Quakers enter the game 9-1 overall while Milford carries a record of 8-3.

They do have a pair of common opponents.

Wilmington Friends lost to defending state champion Woodbridge 20-14 in the third week of the season. Milford has defeated Woodbridge twice, 20-13 on Oct. 13 and the one-point victory last week.

Both teams defeated Lake Forest and the final scores for both games were 42-7.

While everyone is looking forward to Saturday’s game, Strickland is thankful for this week of practice.

“It’s one more week with these kids,” Strickland said. “We’re going to miss these seniors when they’re gone. So I’m happy we get another week with them and we get another football game on top of it.”

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